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Imposing Our Values on Japan
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One can argue the differences between the recent conflict in Iraq and the end of WWII, but one cannot argue that we, along with our allies, imposed a particular set of cultural values on Japan at the end of that war.

I've quoted the text of the Potsdam Declaration before, in which the Allies laid down the condition for ending aggression against Japan.

It bears repeating in our current context, so here is Section 10:

10) We do not intend that the Japanese shall be enslaved as a race or destroyed as a nation, but stern justice shall be meted out to all war criminals, including those who have visited cruelties upon our prisoners. The Japanese Government shall remove all obstacles to the revival and strengthening of democratic tendencies among the Japanese people. Freedom of speech, of religion, and of thought, as well as respect for the fundamental human rights shall be established.

Japan, through its behavior, had demonstrated unbridled aggression, expansionism, and militarism. They were living in a culture that had only known feudalism and totalitarianism, a culture in which the basic rights described above were not present.

So were we wrong to thrust these ideals on Japanese society by force?

I lived in Japan for two years. I saw a very rich, diverse culture there, with many traditional ties to the past. Sumo is alive and well. So are Kabuki and Noh. Many of the ancient temples and castles have been rebuilt. Tea ceremony and ikebana are still widespread. Setting up a representative form of government hasn't seemed to have destroyed their culture.

Or has it? Anybody here think we should simply have left them alone at the end of WWII? Not made any demands on social or governmental reform?

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